… such as customer relationship management, sales force automation, mid-market ERP, human resources management, analytics, enterprise content management and more, they will become departmental experts moving them into more IT and Non-IT categories and services which automatically sets them up for success whether they’re dealing with facilities department at a hospital, a postsecondary institution, a retailer or whoever – the line card of what the facilities manager buys is fundamentally the same (e.g., power, physical security, ProAV, office supplies) and this is where we see a lot of firms move into new areas – by accident or the firm wants to buy those products from them. Thus, my prediction is we will see resellers, distributors, retailers and others move into more adjacent categories as those interactions with myriad departments will become more common place.
DK: You will all have customer success managers by the end of 2019
CP: Name one of the “pet peeves” you have about how partners operate?
DK:Focusing on a sales push – and as a funnel and in a linear fashion.
AH: Partners that don’t take full advantage of the services their vendors offer through their respective partner programs, and focus on “leads” versus using the intellectual property available to improve their organization’s ability to compete in the marketplace. As a former channel chief, I had many conversations with partner executives that focused on the quantity and quality, or lack thereof, of leads received. When pressed on what their teams were doing to “fish rather than be fed fish,” few of these executives could provide concrete plans on how services offered through vendor partner programs, such as marketing/lead gen campaigns “in a box,” sales enablement and training, co-branding and MDF, were being used to enhance organizational skills and create a competitive edge when building their pipelines. When a partner is establishing a relationship with a vendor, vendor-provided leads are a key component in priming the pump, but at some point, the partner needs to build a level of self-sufficiency in generating accretive value to the vendor relationship.
MD: One of the key questions I’m always asked is, how do I grow my business from targeting smaller firms to moving into larger organizations and geographies and significantly growing my revenue? A key pet peeve is a true strategic planning process starting with a situation analysis coming up with strategic objectives of where you want to be in the next 5 years, what market forces are working for and against you, what things are in or out of your control, etc.
Another is partners often ask is, how do I develop new business or find new sales leads or ideas for growth? Fundamentally, I think firms have a tendency to over-complicate life by thinking they need gargantuan marketing budgets that go beyond the typical 10 percent of sales a year. It’s actually quite on the contrary, and there is a lot of intelligence around you to help you develop those things. For example, if you’re a reseller in the education or local government market, every public school and local government’s strategic plan is online that allows you to see their strategy, what technologies they’ve deployed or going to deploy, etc.